This is it, I declare every year. This is the year I won’t be filled with disgust by my bathing suit drawer. Because unlike what the swimwear selection in most stores would have you believe, most women are a little wary of a crazy-printed, ultra-strappy monokini or Brazilian-cut tangle of strings. So as we gear up to Daily Summer season, we’re taking a closer look at the swimwear brands that really, truly rock for women of myriad ages and shapes. First up: Mikoh, which has recently introduced its Women line to provide fresh versions of their bestselling styles designed with, as they say, “the healthy, fit, and confident women in mind” but with a touch more coverage “whether or not they necessarily need it.” Oleema Miller, the brand’s co-founder, creative director, and designer, explains the phenomenon she created with her sister, Kalani Miller.
The Swimwear Chronicles: Mikoh Ups Their Game
What are your professional backgrounds?
Both Kalani and I were fortunate enough to surf for Roxy since the ages of 9 and 10, and throughout the years being a part of the Roxy family allowed us be a part of trade shows, travel around the world for photo shoots, and truly learn the ins and outs of the surf industry. After having surfed for Roxy from the ages of 9 to 19, Kalani attended college at UCSB, while I took the complete opposite route and continued to travel. From there, that’s when I had the idea to start Mikoh. I’ve always loved fashion and learned how to sew from my mother in the second grade, and have always been a little bit more defiant when it came to people telling me what to do. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to have my own company, so when I had the idea to start a swimwear company, the first and only person I could ever imagine myself working with was my sister.
What did you feel was missing in the swimwear market?
The beach culture and the ocean runs in our blood, and having worn bikinis for my entire life, I knew that there was a hole in the marketplace for not only beautifully cut and stylish bikinis but also suits that could be worn while doing sports and living an active lifestyle.
What are the aesthetic signatures of the brand?
I wanted to make the Mikoh aesthetic clean, modern, and timeless, but with details and accents that make the brand unique and can remain our signature. To me, fit is number one, and I really pride myself on making sure every single piece is fit to perfection. The Mikoh girl doesn’t just want to look stylish, but also wants functionality in all of her pieces. We want every person that purchases a MIKOH suit to have it in their bikini wardrobe forever.
What’s unique about your fabric?
All of our fabrics and prints are custom made and custom dyed, and the construction behind them is impeccable. The construction of the suits, in how we make them all double lined, allows for a much sleeker and more flattering fit. Not to mention that our fabrics are incredibly soft and feel great against the skin.
Who are your key retail partners?
We are so fortunate to be able to work with the most incredible retailers around the world, including Net-A-Porter, Shopbop, Revolve, Matches, and Barneys.
How do you divide responsibilities?
I am the creative director and designer of the brand, and anything to do with the creative side of Mikoh is what I work on. Both Kalani and I make all business decisions together, while Kalani has a huge part in social media and strategic relationships.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I am fortunate enough to travel year-round, and am constantly keeping my eyes and ears open. I am constantly drawing inspiration from all around me, but I find myself the most inspire when in the ocean or in most tropical places. Every collection that I’ve ever designed always has a tropical twist to it.
Your bikini bottoms are legendary. Why do they fit so well?
As mentioned prior, I really pride myself on the fit and make sure that every single stitch and every way that the fabric is cut and lays on the skin is the most flattering on every woman’s body. I think we were able to really cater to all different types of women with the various cuts we make, and now that we have the MIKOH WOMAN line, we are able to offer a new variety of suits for a women who wants to accentuate her curves.
What are your favorite beaches, and how do you like to spend time there?
My all time favorite beach is definitely the island of Tavarua in Fiji, and the options are endless for things to do. Shell hunting, swimming, and surfing until I can hardly move my arms is what I find myself doing the most. Just being outside and being surrounded by the beauty of the island is one of the many reasons why I feel lucky that this is my life.